Analytical marketing: a different game requires different players

In my previous blog I already shared my enthusiasm for Adele Sweetwood’s book ‘The Analytical Marketer’, which describes how you should transform your marketing organization in order to optimize the use of available analytics. But in order to create an analytics-driven marketing team and organization, you also need a new set of skills in your team. Adele thought this deserved an extra chapter in the book, so I should at least devote a separate blog post to this topic.

The days of marketing as simply an artistic endeavor are gone forever, that much is obvious. (Check also my previous blog). Creative skills are still important, mind you, but you need more nowadays to be successful. So what skills should the modern marketer possess?

Adele Sweetwood sums up some of those that matter most:

1. Sales skills. The analytical marketer needs work hand in hand with the sales team throughout the buying process, so they can pass on the required information to close deals.

2. Social media skills. Today’s marketers should understand the changed dynamics since the arrival of social media: one-way communication has gradually receded to make way for true interactivity.

3. Storytelling skills. Good and targeted content are key to attracting the customers’ attention, which is increasingly difficult with the abundance of information available on the web.

4. Process design skills. Automation as such doesn’t increase your producivity, it’s the processes that are changed by automation that make the difference. But this change can only be successful if you meticulously design these processes to maximize the productivity gain.

5. Data and analytics skills. No further comment required, I should think.

6. Domain expertise. Marketers should not only understand their own trade, but also the customers’ needs, so they can fit the content and timing of the message to these needs.

7. Collaboration and communication skills. Marketing is no longer a one-(wo)man or even a one-team effort, you need intense collaboration within and between teams.

8. Creativity and innovation. Creativity is not dead, on the contrary. But it is no longer limited to that one brilliant idea to capture people’s eyes, hearts and minds. You also need creativity and innovation in the way you address your audience, the different steps in the communication, and so much more.

9. Leadership. You don’t just need a leader on the VP level, but at every level imaginable. If you want to truly innovate and make a difference, you need people who have vision and are willing to take risks to reach their goal. That’s what leadership is about.

Of course, no single person can combine all of these skills. But when hiring, you should always have a look at this list to see exactly which of these skills you are looking for. This will help in finding the ideal candidate for the new roles that have emerged when transforming into an analytics-driven marketing team and organization. Roles such as client managers (ensuring customer-centric rather than channel-driven marketing), orchestrators (driving and aligning complex go-to-market efforts), content marketers, marketing data scientists and IT business partners, bridging the gap between business and technology.

Turning your marketing organization into a data- and analytics-driven business team takes the right people and the right skills. Reading this “Your guide to becoming a modern marketer" would be an excellent starting point to develop your analytical skills.

You could also turn to chapter 4 in Adele's book, but be warned: once you’ve started, you may want to read the rest of the book as well!